World Series of Fighting in New York City 12/31: Gaethje vs. Firmino, Shields vs. Fitch, Moraes vs. Silva

By Adam Tindal, MMATorch contributor

DECEMBER 31, 2016

Here we are for World Series of Fighting and their first event in Madison Square Garden.


Round 1: Both guys come out and look to take control of the center of the cage. Hard shots are being thrown and Silva looks to have Moraes hurt from a kick and is starting to tee off on Silva against the cage. Now silva is coming back and throwing and has Moraes hurt. Both guys are exchanging and oddly Silva taps himself out due to a knee injury. It’s hard to tell what happened but he may have damaged some ligaments in there. His foot was planted but his hips and knees continued to rotate. Still very hard to tell what happened but I’ll be curious to find out what that was.

Decision: Marlon Moraes via TKO (Injury) RD 1

(Tindal’s Reax: Moraes is a nasty dude with massive power and excellent ground control. Definitely a guy I would like to see in the UFC here in the near future.)

(2) JON FITCH vs. JAKE SHIELDS – Welterweight Title fight

I think we can all guess how this fight is going to play out.

Round 1: Here we go and Jake Shields opens with a nice head kick. Jon Fitch pushes in with punches and gets the takedown and here we go in typical Fitch fashion he’s got top control and is landing baby punches as Shields is fishing for a submission. Still working the top game is Fitch and he has Shields pressed against the cage so his submission attacks are limited. Shields is looking for a guillotine but has to let it go. Ref adheres to the flood of boo’s and stands them up. Shields is working the kicks nicely but Fitch just landed a hard overhand left. He presses Shields to the cage and they clinch up as the round ends. Real barn burner so far… Not really. 10-9 Shields. Fitch probably won the round for the takedown and top control but he didn’t do anything but get them stood back up. Shields was looking for submissions and landed the harder strikes on the feet.

Round 2: They both take the center and exchange a few punches. Shields shoots and gets the takedown but Fitch is back to the feet and Shields has him pressed against the cage. Shields lands another takedown and is holding on to the leg of Fitch and trying to get him back to the cage. Fitch scrambles but Shields holds him down. Jake is now in full mount and hopefully can put an end to this before we have to watch another 3 rounds. Fitch rolls and Shields looks to take his back. Shields is peppering with punches looking to open Fitch up for the rear naked choke. Shields has a body triangle now and is still looking for the rear naked but the round is coming to an end. 10-9 Shields. He got the takedown and controlled the ground work. To say I’ve been entertained thus far would be the biggest overstatement of 2016.

Round 3: They meet in the middle and trade a couple punches before Shields shoots again and presses Fitch to the cage. Fitch transitions and gets his own takedown. Shields attempts a guillotine and uses it to get back to his feet. Fitch is looking for the single leg but Jake is defending well. Fitch landing some knees to the thigh. Shields defends the takedown attempt and goes for his own but Fitch defends. Round 3 ends on the ground as usual. 10-9 Fitch for the top control and submission defense. I’m now booing at the television.

Round 4: Well round 4 and one to go, thank God. Both are back in the center and Jake lands a nice body kick. Why he isn’t utilizing those more is beyond me. Good kicks but sloppy punches and Fitch lands an overhand right that has Jake shoot in right away. Fitch defends and they’re back up. Shields shoots again and Fitch defends transitioning to the top and Shields is in full guard. Here we go again. I’m honestly finding more enjoyment in Bas Rutten’s comical commentary right now. Shields tries to get up but rolls into a knee bar and dang almost had it!! Thought we might have gotten lucky for a second. They’re back up and Shields clinches Fitch against the cage. Ref breaks them up but who really cares we know what they’re going to do. Fitch rushes with winging punches and clinches again as the round ends. 10-9 Fitch for top control. I’ll ask it again though, who cares, really?

Round 5: Fifth round and about time. Back in the center and Fitch looks to be more aggressive. Shields shoots after landing a nice body kick only to get stuffed and rolled into full guard again. My gosh. Back up again. Please more kicks Jake. Ftich lands some punches and Shields returns. He shoots another sloppy double and gets stuffed. Fitch tries to transition to the back but Shields rolls into guard. Jake is looking for a heel hook now but loses it. Wait maybe he has it again, please tap Jon. Nope he’s up and back into guard. Fitch is going to ride this one out. 10-9 Fitch.

Decision: Jon Fitch by UD

(Tindal’s Reax: Shields had some nice submission attempts but Fitch defended all of them and will likely take the decision in typical Jon Fitch fashion. I don’t think there was ever a point where the crowd wasn’t booing. Fitch says due to medical issues and a sketchy brain scan he’s likely retiring. As boring as this fight was and as miserable as I was watching it I truly hope Jon Fitch is ok in his future. Brain issues are nothing to play around with so he’s absolutely right to err on the side of caution and pull out before he takes anymore unnecessary damage._

Okay, hopefully we can put that behind us. I had to do some quick soul searching after that last fight and make sure I still wanted to go on in life considering myself a fan of MMA. The main event is upon us now folks and we should be in for a treat. Justin Gaethje is almost never in a boring fight and Luiz Firmino is an excellent grappler. Here’s to hoping the champ can keep this one on the feet.


Round 1: No glove touch. Always a good sign. Here we go. Justin Rushes and they go nuts. Big kick by Firmino and they end up on the ground. Justin’s on top and looking to negate the submissions of Firmino. Justin works to side control and Firmino is back to half guard. Ref stands them up and Justin lands a big overhand. Inside leg kick and Firmino is countering nicely. Someone lost their mouthpiece and I can’t type fast enough for this. They’re back at it and swinging. Good low kicks by Justin and they’re throwing heavy. Justin is getting clipped and just got taken down. He’s back up with Firmino trying to climb on the back. Big foot stomp by Luiz. He got full back mount and then lost it. He’s on his back again and looking for the rear naked choke. Justin is defending well and shakes him off. He breaks free and lands a nice overhand followed by a body kick and a somersault kick!!!!! Dang. 10-9 Gaethje. He’s looking for the knock out hard and landed many shots while defending the submissions well too. He still needs to be careful because he got caught himself with some hard shots.

Round 2: He rushes to the center again Firmino lands a had shot that knocks Justins’s mouthpiece out. He transitions and lands big ground and pound. Justin stands up and walks away to get his mouth piece. They both trade shots and Gaethje stuffs a takedown. Firmino is landing and just jumped for the flying knee. Gaethje has a real chin. Firmino is landing everything but Justin is countering hard. Big straight right for Justin and he stuffs another takedown. No head movement though for Gaethje and he’s eating shots. Big leg kick from Justin and those will pay off later. They trade again and Firmino continues to land as Gaethje covers up and looks to counter with one big shot. The round ends with an even exchange. 10-9 Firmino. He doesn’t seem to be doing much damage but Gaethje can’t keep taking punches like this.

Round 3: Justin takes the center again and is stalking Firmino. Good body shot for Justin and a heavy leg kick. Firmino continues to land however. Another leg kick from Gaethje. They clinch up and Justin presses to the cage as Luiz breaks free with a big knee. Big shot from Gaethje and an uppercut but Luiz counters. Man a massive uppercut for Justin and Firmino eats it. Both guys just take punches to land them. Not much defense at all from either man. Justin is now hurting Firmino and teeing off. We might be on our way to a finish. Firmino shoots and Gaethje defends. Both guys take a breather on the ground. The ref stands them and Justin enters with anise combination to the body. Back up to the head and justin is landing the some big shots. Both land in a big exchange. 10-9 Gaethje. Big round for him after a lethargic second. He nearly had the finish at one point but Firmino is a tough dude and they both are swinging for the fences now. Not much gas left in the tank for either man however.

Round 4: Dang the doc came in and called the fight. Luiz Firmino’s right eye is swollen all the way shut and he can’t see. Uneventful finish to what was becoming a sloppy, yet really fun fight.

Decision: Justin Gaethje wins via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at the start of round 4.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Well that’s a wrap for WSOF here on New Years Eve. Insanely boring fight between Jon Fitch and Jake Shields, but that was redeemed only by the performances of likely the two very best fighters outside the UFC right now in Marlon Moraes and Justin Gaethje. Both of these guys could easily compete with the upper echelons of their respective divisions in the UFC. WSOF didn’t waste any time either with their broadcast tonight either. Another job well done by another UFC competitor in the fast pace show they put on. I must say it’s much nicer to watch three or four fights in two hours than it is to watch five fights in three or four hours. I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year.

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